‘Here in the garden of forking paths, you didn’t make any one choice…’
Stephen King is having a moment right now. The huge success of IT has been flanked by a slew of film adaptations, novels and TV shows. Netflix has already contributed to the noise with 1922 and Gerald’s Game – both fine additions to the Stephen King oeuvre – and In The Tall Grass, their latest contribution, seeks to nestle within the King filmography like a clown peering through a storm drain.
King has never been too interested in plot, instead preferring to focus on the bloody heart of the story, whether it’s still beating or not. And so it transpires that, in terms of plotting, In The Tall Grass is about as straightforward as they come. Siblings Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) and Cal (Avery Whitted) wade into some tall grass after hearing a small, annoying child shouting for help. And that’s pretty much all she wrote. People get lost in grass. Some stuff about time travel. A big rock shows up at some point. It’s all good fun.
The acting ranges from patchy to competent with the exception of Patrick Wilson who has the time of his life playing against type as a douchebag, real estate guy. You know he’s a (***mild spoiler***) baddie because he is sporting a ridiculous moustache the whole goddamn time.
Elsewhere, there is some metaphysics tagged on and some stuff about ancient grass monsters but on the whole this is simply a movie about some folks being trapped in some big ol’ grass and it fits into the whole maze mosaic that King established so beautifully with The Shining and, to a lesser extent, Children of the Corn.
In The Tall Grass won’t win any awards, nor will it be remembered by anyone in ten years, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an entertaining and compelling slice of horror escapism that will delight fans of Stephen King and horror movies alike.